Just finished watching 83 on OTT and relived the glorious moment of India’s totally unexpected but unforgettable victory over the mighty West Indies to lift the World Cup. The way Kapil lifted the spirits of his team members from “ also ran” type to earn the sobriquet of “ Kapil’s devil” is what the film is all about. Of course, there was no surprise or suspense as the outcome was already well known, but the journey up to the victory was as fascinating as the final triumph.
The film also highlights the importance of the game of cricket in the life of a nation – India in this case. How communal riots in the parts of the country get converted into a show of unity, how the tension at the Indo-Pak border eases for a day with Pak line commander assuring his Indian counterpart of no firing from his side to let Indian forces watch the match to the celebratory mood of Indians cutting through all divisions across the world come to re-emphasise the importance of the game of cricket in our milieu.
The film has several high points – disdain of the English media towards the Indian team, smugness of the mighty West Indian team, Indian team’s struggle to get decent Indian food, nationalism evoked by this game, mannerisms of the original players followed to a T by the actors – a few known and others not so well known and of course, Ranveer Singh who lives and breathes Kapil Dev in the film.
India repeated the feat in 2011, has also done well in other formats of cricket, has several world class cricketers who have several records against their names and India now boasts of a world class premier league IPL that attracts the best talent from around the globe and entails big money. But the seed for all the above was sown by Kapil’s devils and for this very reason World Cup victory of 1983 will continue to remain very special. Kudos to Kabir Khan for capturing the spirit of the moment, which I relived while watching the film.